Monthly Archives: October 2016

Whole Life Yoga–Fifteen Years and Counting.


OMG  I can’t believe I missed Whole Life Yoga’s 15th anniversary!  We opened on October 12, 2001, about a month after my father’s death.  I didn’t think Dad approved of my decision to quit my management job at Microsoft and open a yoga studio until the day of his funeral. During the eulogy, the pastor mentioned how proud my father was that his daughter decided to dedicate her life to helping others. That sentence has kept me going for the past fifteen years.

So many things have happened since then….

  • Literally thousands of people have come through our door to take yoga classes.  Almost 15,000 unique individuals, by my best estimate.  WOW!  Fifteen thousand people that we’ve impacted, hopefully for the better.
  • We’ve hosted fourteen teacher trainings, which represents well  over 250 yoga teachers that have been certified in the Viniyoga lineage.
  • We’ve donated classes to hundreds of nonprofits for auctions and other events.
  • We’ve held fundraising events for nonprofits, neighborhood businesses, and friends struggling with illness.

When I opened the studio, the longest I’d stayed with any career was five years. The fact that I still work at Whole Life Yoga after fifteen years is nothing short of astounding.

Running a small business hasn’t been easy, and to be honest, some days I wonder how many more years I have left in me.  But I can honestly say there’s nothing I’m more proud of in my life.  Thank you to all of you who have been a part of this journey.

Tracy Weber

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at  Thanks for reading!

Writing, and Research, and Travel, Oh My!


Hey all!  This week I’m blogging at Inkspot (the blog for the writers of Midnight Ink)  about Ana’s and my recent research trip to Cannon Beach, Oregon.  Of course, hubby was there, too!  Check it out at

Tracy Weber

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at  Thanks for reading!

Yogi Interview of the Month: Marcie Leek!

Hi everyone! Please help me welcome Whole Life Yoga teacher training graduate Marcie Leek to the blog today.  Marcie is truly amazing, both in the audiences she touches and the innovative ways in which she teaches.  Enjoy!


What do you specifically appreciate about Viniyoga?

When I first came to Viniyoga, I was a burned-out (English) teacher taking a sabbatical. In the classes I attended at Whole Life, my chaotic and self-critical mind stilled during class. This was miraculous to me (truly!). I found a peace there I had not found in previous yoga classes. My hunch is that Viniyoga’s focus on the breath, and connection between breath and movement, helped me find a meditative, calm, and (self-)loving side of myself that I hadn’t been able to access before.

How has yoga changed your life?

So many ways! I am so much better at practicing living in the present moment rather than dwelling on the past or being fearful about the future. I’m not cured of this, of course, but I often notice when I go there (into my head and/or into my fear), and I even manage to call myself back pretty quickly sometimes. I also have become much better at observing self-care boundaries than I was. I’ve slowed down, and I pause more. I’m nicer to myself in my head. I am more aware of my body and of the connections, positive and negative, between my body and my mind. I’ve also become more courageous about bringing ideas into fruition and putting them out in the world, even though it scares me. I know myself more, and I trust my Self more. And I have made some wonderful friends!

What made you decide to take a yoga teacher training program?

I wanted to help other people find that peaceful place within themselves.

Now that you’ve graduated, how are you sharing what you learned?

First, I teach two series classes that aim to bring two very different populations to that peaceful place I have found through yoga. I teach a series and classes called Befriending Your Body through Yoga, in Seattle and now online. It’s a series for plus-size women who want to learn how yoga can help them develop or maintain a self-compassionate relationship between body and mind. I also teach a series called Moving through Grief with Yoga, which teaches people how the tools of yoga can help them as they go through the process of grieving. I am passionate about both of these series and have loved watching them grow! I also teach cancer patients and caregivers for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance the same tools as I teach my other students: self-compassion and how to work with the body, breath, and mind as they navigate a challenging time. I’m so grateful to be able to share yoga with all of these people who might not otherwise know how it can benefit them.

What specific populations do you most enjoy teaching?

I love to teach yoga to anyone who will let me teach them, but I am particularly fond of what I call “tender” populations. This might be the people who come to a particular series, but it also includes newcomers to yoga (especially people who think they can’t do it), expecting mothers, and more.

What would you say to someone who thinks they “can’t” do yoga?

Yes, you can!

How are you different from a “typical” yogi?

Well, I sure don’t fit the physical image most people have of a “typical” yogi – my body is much rounder, and I’m much older than most people I see on the cover of yoga magazines. I was in my late 40s when I graduated my first round of yoga school and 50 when I finished the advanced training.

Where do you teach?

My series (Befriending Your Body through Yoga and Moving through Grief with Yoga) alternate 6-week blocks most quarters of the year, and classes are on Thursday evenings at OmTown Yoga (5500 35th Ave NE in the Ravenna/Bryant neighborhood). I also teach a drop in class at OmTown on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm. Befriending Your Body through Yoga has a Level 2 drop-in class at 7:45 on Tuesdays as well as the Level 1 series on Thursdays. The SCCA classes are limited to residents of the Pete Gross House.

How can people learn more about you? 

My website:

My NBY Facebook Page: Nourishing Breath Yoga

Marcie Leek is a Seattle-based yoga instructor and is registered with Yoga Alliance at the 500-hour level. She is also certified in Yoga for Round Bodies. She has found yoga, meditation, and breath work to be powerful tools in her life, and she is inspired to help others do the same. You can learn more about Marcie’s classes at her website, and contact her at

Welcome Whole Life Yoga’s Newest Teacher Training Class!


Today’s post will be short and sweet. I spent most of last week kicking off my newest teacher training program and traveling to Cannon Beach, Oregon doing research for my fifth book, tentatively titled Pre-Meditated Murder.  (I’m sure that title will change.)

So today, I’ll just introduce you to the twenty-three new students and five assistants that have embarked on this ten-month journey with me. We range in age from early twenties to sixties, experience from relative yoga newcomer to already-certified teachers in other lineages.  Some practice Power Yoga, some Hot Yoga, some general Hatha yoga, some are Viniyoga veterans. We have software developers, construction managers, physical therapists, stay-at-home moms, and social workers, among many other professions and avocations.  We won’t all teach the same when it’s over, but we all have an interest in deepening our practice, and we are all drawn to the uniqueness of Viniyoga.

I always learn as much or more from my students as they do from me, and I know this year will be no exception. Stay tuned for lessons from the journey. It’s going to be an AWESOME ten months.

PS–Can you spot the guest visitor that came to our first Sunday class?

Tracy Weber

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at  Thanks for reading!

13 Insane Yoga Benefits

Group of men and women give the camera a thumbs up while on yoga mats in sports gym

Please welcome guest blogger Jane Evans to the Whole Life Yoga blog today. Jane is an advocate for overall health and well-being. She writes for GO Mammoth Pilates and Yoga departments and also teaches classes across London.  Tell us, Jane, what are some of the benefits of practicing yoga?

Practicing Yoga has many incredible benefits, not only is it an intense workout for your whole body developing strength and muscle tone it also increases mental concentration combined with spiritual awareness.  All of the above help to enhance lifestyle because you can apply the principles of Yoga to practically every activity you do day to day.  Of course, there are plenty of other superb benefits of Yoga some of which you may not know about.  As Yoga has been around for many centuries it’s no surprise that millions of people across the globe enjoy the positive gains and scientists agree that there are so many benefits both mentally and physically from Yoga practice. Here are 13 insane Yoga benefits which certainly give you food for thought!

Greater Flexibility

If you find that you can’t bend or stretch as much as you’d like or perhaps your joints and muscles are stiff then Yoga will help to loosen and strengthen where you need it. For example, bending over and touching your toes might seem like an impossibility but a few months of Yoga practice and you’ll more than likely be able to bend over and place your palms flat on the floor!

Improved Posture

You might think you stand perfectly well and why should you change the way you walk? Yoga will enhance your posture because it encourages you to stand tall and give your body suppleness so will actually improve your stance.  This is because Yoga stretches the muscles and elongates them but it also works on the principle of balance so the body works equally on either side.  Your posture will change, even subconsciously for the better.

Better Strength

Who needs to go to the gym to strengthen your body when you can practice Yoga and get better results without profuse sweating? Yoga is designed to strengthen every muscle in the body and the various poses must be held for a while which really hones in on muscle training.  The more advanced you become with your Yoga, the more complex the poses, so there’s always a new challenge to take on!

Improved Relaxation

Yoga is an intense workout and requires concentration and dedication – the sessions aren’t designed to be easy but the results don’t just bring about body changes, they also go a long way to quiet your mind. This means you can relax quicker and with ease – even sleep better!  This is because Yoga works on the nervous system, helping it to relax and focuses on meditation which is an art-form that soothes the mind. There are even specific Yoga poses which can help you to rest when you want to.

Yoga Energizes

While Yoga can relax you when needed it also boosts energy levels because of the breathing technique applied to this workout. It’s all based on how much oxygen you breathe in and Yoga makes you breathe far deeper than you would normally.  There’s another reason too, some Yoga poses regulate the cortisol hormone helping to balance energy levels and then again, as Yoga helps you to sleep well you’re bound to feel more energetic the next morning.

Yoga Gives You A Healthier Heart

This is one of the reasons why so many doctors recommend Yoga to heart disease patients because Yoga delivers oxygen to the body’s organs helping them to function better. Yoga also thins the blood because of the poses and this helps to circulate blood all the way round the body and pump the heart.  Thinner blood can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Yoga Decreases Water Retention

If you suffer with water retention particularly in your hands, legs and feet you will find that taking up Yoga helps to decrease swelling. This is because of its blood thinning benefits and it helps your body to rid itself of toxins so circulation is improved and unwanted water removed.

Yoga Helps Metabolic Rate

If you have a low metabolism you might be looking to give it a much-needed boost. Taking up Yoga will help you to quicken your metabolic rate which in turn could help you to shed any unwanted weight.  This is because Yoga boosts your energy levels which affect how quickly your body converts food and drink – Yoga is an active workout after all!

Yoga Teaches You How To Breathe

Well that sounds ridiculous because of course you know how to breathe – but actually do you know how to breathe properly? Generally, people don’t breathe deeply enough and Yoga teaches incredible techniques which help to increase oxygen levels in the body.  This is why it’s often prescribed as a method to use in respiratory conditions.  Yoga really does focus on breathing and expands your lung capacity so it’s excellent for asthmatics or other breathing difficulties.

Yoga Boosts Memory

Yoga is one of those exercises that is superb for mental agility because it encourages you to concentrate. It’s fairly simple to explain, Yoga pushes blood flow around the brain so it is very beneficial to the memory area and in studies, participants reported greater recall and improved concentration after just one short Yoga session.

Yoga Reduces Blood Pressure

It does this in a number of ways. Firstly it is a relaxing workout and focuses the mind on poses and meditation so is a great stress-reliever, often stress is the reason behind high blood pressure. If you practice hot Yoga, you will greatly reduce your sodium stores because of the sweat involved, while everyone needs sodium in their diet, too much salt is bad for high blood pressure and heart disease.

Yoga Improves Bone Density

This is why it is often prescribed as an exercise for osteoporosis or osteoarthritis patients. It’s also excellent for arthritis sufferers because it focuses on mobility and strengthening muscles.  Yoga can also keep calcium present in the bones and calcium deficiency leads to brittle bones.

Yoga Brings Peace

In today’s busy, anxious world many people find themselves over-stressing the little things in life and forgetting to focus on what’s really important such as friends, family, partner and of course – themselves. Yoga brings inner calm and peace because it is a mindful exercise which teaches meditation and spirituality.  Just a few weeks of Yoga practice will help to change how you perceive different situations and also go a long way to help you switch off from anxiety and negative thoughts.